Thursday, August 31, 2017

Horror Blackademics: "A Black Women's Horror Discourse" Theory

Art by Donna Lee Bolden Kerr

Speculative Sankofarration: Haunting Black Women in Contemporary Horror Fiction
by Kinitra D. Brooks, Alexis McGee, and Stephanie Schoellman

This reading is primarily a framework for an approach to speculative fiction written by Black women that deals particularly with the concepts of time, ghosts, hauntings and the way in which they all disrupt then expand our perceptions of the horror genre by blending the natural and supernatural from a Black women's historical realities and subjectivity.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Black Magic Tales: Tiara Janté's L'innocent


In the realm of the speculative, there's an energy that lingers within both what is good and what is bad. The branch of horror commonly devours the essence of evil, giving in to its many forms. Reality is very often the inspiration for the ugliness and non-acceptance of what destroys life and remains unchecked. Likely since time began, morality tales have been created to manage our thirst and understanding for retribution. Horror morality tales are delightfully unforgiving, nasty, and justly brutal. And Black storytellers continue grabbing ingredients from this genre that becomes something freshly improvised yet hauntingly familiar.

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Get To Know: Horror/Sci-Fi Screenwriter Barbara Marshall


Armed with an endless supply of creativity and persistence, screenwriter Barbara Marshall is a "horror/scifi nut" that has been blending her positive vibes with her results as a storyteller who is making a living doing what she loves. Her latest screenplay, the Hollywood release Wish Upon, is a horror film about a teenage girl who receives music box that grants her most wanted wishes with dire consequences. It has been described as "an enjoyable throwback to ’90s teen-centric horror" by Daily Dead's Heather Wixson who additionally notes that "Barbara Marshall infuses her script with a lot of heart, horror, and even humor, which makes for an entertaining mix." This is evident in Marshall's Blumhouse penned Viral, about the aftermath of a human demolishing outbreak from the perspective of a young woman that has sharp hooks as a quiet, well executed, character-driven piece that even in dialogue, I found squeamish in the best way for a film in its sci-fi/horror category. Barbara Marshall's genuine enthusiasm for writing stories that provide a scare is infectious. 

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

BlackBox TV: Making A Space For Black Women In Horror


When a part of your mission statement reads that you work to be tuned into "the specific mindset and language of niche communities who might be lacking for considerable representation in the larger pop cultural scene" and mean it, it's impossible not to notice. BlackBoxTV Studios is an online entertainment network that offers micro-tales in the horror, science fiction, and drama genres, at times blending all three. Tony E. Valenzuela, Jarrett and Kyle Sleeper have successfully managed to put out work that heavily features Black women and girls in fun, well acted, suspenseful, and considerable roles.

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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sci-Fi Sunday: Web Series Keloid Rivals The Best Of Mainstream Science Fiction Today


Web series have become the latest way of getting original content out into the world when major networks turn a blind eye to indie filmmakers and their unique stories. The latest addition is Keloid, a sci-fi/supernatural series about a young man, his mother and his unique and dangerous powers.

Keloid (David Nixon) and his mother Marielle (Aba Woodruff) live in a constant state of high alert. Keloid possesses the power of telekinesis and the ability transport himself wherever he wants to with just a thought. His mother has the same powers and is desperate for him to embrace their unusual traits so he can survive in the modern world. Keloid is a young adult and just wants to fit in, so the struggle for him becomes more than just harnessing the powerful abilities, but to find a peer group and feel normal.

When an unfortunate accident forces Keloid and Marielle to flee, Keloid tries to come to terms with the accident and the fact that he may have to fend for himself. This fear comes as his mother prepares for a type of deep sleep called "hibernation" where their kind repair the physical breakdown their bodies suffer from the formidable powers surging within. Keloid will spiral into more intrigue as his mother reveals secrets that will change his life forever.

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Militia Vox: Horror's Next Audiovisual Icon


nyctophilia nyc·to·phil·i·a (nĭk'tə-fĭl'ē-ə) n. A preference for the night or darkness. 

Militia Vox, the four-octave range, multi-instrument, metal musician has been breathing music since she was just twelve months on this planet, belting a line from Styx's "Babe" that "freaked out and thrilled" her father. The source of her aesthetic and "supernatural sound" has its roots in a love for the horror genre. Many people know her as the “Femme Metale” of the hard rock community, but there's a clear emphasis on the marriage of this influential genre and her work as a director, cinematographer/DP and EFX artist.

Her latest video and track, "NYCTOPHILIA" centers a Black woman in an almost alternative reality New York where the sun never shines and the five senses are maximized. Living by "disgrace your stereotype," Militia creates award-winning art with a special intelligence and reverence for the horror/gothic genre. This Judas Priestess frontwoman also has a wide wing expanse behind the scenes and wanted to chat about how much her love for horror bleeds into everything she produces.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Horror Web Series BFFs Explores Female Bonding & More


Nostalgia seems to be the scent and flavor of my generation. We're not quite millennials and Gen-Xer's were our slightly older peers that were model road maps for branding our unique identities. While remembering when television went off the air and 7-digit phone numbers, we were also on the fringes of a new age of technology: that AOL dial-up sound, internet message boards keeping us up all night, (almost) everyone having cable TV, and remembering where we were when Diana Ross Black mothered Lil' Kim on the MTV VMA stage. I'm gonna guess that 1987 was that year you postmodern, in-limbo generationals like myself began to vividly remember your first experiences with going to see movies, starting grade school, and creating your first social bubble...

Which is why if you're reading this, there's a new horror web series on the horizon this Fall that should stop you in your tracks with just this tweet:


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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Black Women Horror Writers: Interview with Michele Berger


Hair.

For many of us, that word carries such weight and expectation. For Black women especially, the word “hair” can strike fear into our hearts, keep us up late at night, and empty our wallets with lightning quick ease. As such, it’s a perfect topic to explore in horror. So little of horror is written from a place of authority for Black women. When it is, the story tends toward the historical, steeped in the horrors of slavery, or even twisting the conjure magics into something evil and ugly.

But author and professor Michele Berger, who teaches classes on Sapphire’s Push and Beyoncé’s “Formation” at UNC Chapel Hill has taken our hair, something that holds the power to change our mood and our mindset and brought it into horror. With her latest release Reenu-You, Berger has brought some of our worst fears into realization. Even with so many women embracing the natural texture of their hair, hundreds of thousands of women are still searching for that product that makes styling that little bit easier.

When Kay finds Reenu-You on the shelves, a product promising exactly that, she tries it. The resulting rash and sores she gets won’t heal and are in fact, spreading. She goes to the hospital where she comes across a room of other women with a similar affliction. After an initial hesitation, she speaks with them and realizes they have all used Reenu-You. They leave the hospital, unsure the doctors are willing or able to do anything about this condition that is spreading unchecked. Does anyone care? Can the outbreak be stopped? Or are Kay and her newfound friends and allies doomed to succumb to the effects of Reenu-You?

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Black Horror Girl Magic: Flashback Weekend Chicago Horror Con 2017


August 4th through the 6th in a little area just outside of Chicago called Rosemont saw a small herd of jazzed-up horror fans congregate in a Crowne Plaza hotel to celebrate the annual Flashback Weekend horror convention. This weekend was particularly special for A Nightmare On Elm Street franchise fans for a multitude of reasons. A head-spinning blend of cast members from many of the films, most notably Part 4, were the headlining guests with Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger) as the gracious top bill. In addition, a special larger than life documentary was being filmed titled FredHeads.

FredHeads is a documentary about the fandom of a Nightmare on Elm Street and how it has changed the lives of so many people. The documentary will follow 3 fans as they tell their story and what their journey in the Nightmare community has been; some as fans, others rising through popularity. Along the way, we will be filming at conventions and getting as many fan stories as possible to feature as many fans as we can in the documentary. It’s about the heart and soul of horror, and what Nightmare means to people and why it is not a typical slasher film. (Facebook, Twitter)

This combination made my Flashback Weekend experience one of the most exciting, emotional, and best conventions that I have ever attended. And I almost didn't make it. 

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Horror Blackademics: Folklore & Hardcore, Deconstructing Tales from the Hood

The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 115, No. 457/458 (Summer/Autumn 2002)

Thesis: As director and co-screenwriter of the horror anthology Tales from the Hood (1995), Rusty Cundieff is responsible for dismantling strict, binary gender depictions in popular culture through his use of specific aspects of African American folklore stories which complicate narrow, harmful views of Black men in American society.

Synopsis: Tales from the Hood is an anthology horror film in the likeness of the original Tales from the Crypt (1972) movie. The wraparound story follows three young men who arrive at a funeral home run by Mr. Simms in order to pick up a supply of drugs. Mr. Simms leads the men throughout the home, coming across relics and bodies that all have chilling stories; police corruption/brutality and the vengeful undead ("Rogue Cop Revelation"), domestic abuse and the magic to destroy its form ("Boys Do Get Bruised"), a racist politician is spooked by the souls of enslaved Africans living inside of dolls ("KKK Comeuppance"), and a serial killer's chance at redemption in purgatory ("Hard-Core Convert").

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Black Horror Films: Blame (2014)


Two parents face an unspeakable dilemma after a video is discovered of their college-bound son's collusion in a violent, criminal act.

Written & Directed by Kellee Terrell

The soft warm glow of the lighting only hyper-angelicizes the first scene we're introduced to. A patriarch opens his prayer with a spirit of thanks for the family that surrounds him at a dining room table stuffed with food they will all share together in a matter of moments. His upbeat speech accentuated by noting that his son will receive a full ride to MIT. But suddenly, a disruption appears in the form of an young lady, standing behind him like a dirty cloud that'll surely corrupt this moment. A warning that all is not quite right with this Hallmark display.

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